|...your system is coming to a crossroads or a turning point...|
- Do believe in Singapore exceptionalism?
- You know what, Singapore's gone as far as it can go, there are other places we can put our money and see it bear fruit better than Singapore in the future.
- And being constant, does that mean that Lee Kuan Yew's family will always be in charge?
Given your determination to control immigration, could that run into a clash with your desire to see foreign companies headquartered in Singapore, developing their operations in Singapore, because one might run against the other?
A member from Uganda invoked the spirit of Harry Truman, admired for his plainspoken common sense, his zero tolerance policy for bullshit, his sharp wit, and blunt honesty:
Does Singapore today consider itself a developed country in the Harry Truman sense of "developed" and "development"?
The member from Armenia probably heard stories about our civil servants veering on the side of the political wind:
Is it (Singapore development) thanks to the political will, or did it start from the bottom civil or economic level? And what is the level of democracy between the political right and the economic right?
And then there was the surprising lesson from China. Their representative, despite not having visited the country, saw through the smokescreen - one haze issue we can't pin blame on the Indonesians - mouthed the Amos Yee question:
But you mentioned something like you would actually make life harder for people who are not willing to work in Singapore... you know if your society works this way, won't you deprive the freedom of people who just want to be wild and anti-establishment?
Sackur must have been losing patience with the "official lines" that Tharman was obviously regurgitating, especially when his pointed question about a social safety net was parried with another "clever" one-liner. Sackur, at wits' end:
I believe in the sometimes simplicity of yes-or-no answers. What about this this idea of a safety net? Does Singapore believe in the notion of a safety net for those who fall between the cracks of a successful economy?
Tharman's answer ("I believe in the notion of a trampoline.") has to those heartless responses that is worthy of 3 weeks' jail for a tight smack. So what happens to those who are physically or mentally unable to climb onto the trampoline without assistance, and can't possibly survive a leap into the air without incurring further damage to the body or mind? Sackur surmises it best: "You mean you're a bit more ruthless. Is that what you're saying?"